Perserving Your Classic Corvette Engine

How to preserve the most important component in your Corvette.

Jeff Bernhardt Oct 7, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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The dual-bolt pattern at the top of the heads allows for the use of perimeter-mount valve covers, like the aluminum Corvette covers. You'll want to run the 21/2-inch solid-lifter engine exhaust manifolds because the 2-inch just won't flow enough exhaust out of these Vortec heads. Exhaust port alignment isn't perfect with the manifolds, so you can do a little shaping to the inside of the reproduction manifolds from Paragon Reproductions. And you'll have to make provisions for a PCV system to vent the crankcase. There's no way I would ever drill a hole into a perfectly good Corvette aluminum intake, so my first choice would be to install a '66-'67 oil fill tube with the provision to screw in a PCV valve. Bring clean air into the crankcase through the rear china wall of the block with a fitting, internal baffle, and a tube connecting to the bottom of the air cleaner. Everything is pretty well hidden under the intake manifold and at the back of the block.

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OK, another turn of the page. Suppose you want to keep your original engine intact, but are interested in improvements that will not only help its performance, but also its survival. You've heard horror stories about today's gasoline, and now motor oil, and are almost afraid to even run your engine. Here are some of the things you can do. Starting with the distributor, the Lectric Limited Stealth SE electronic ignition conversion system is among the best going, and is my favorite because it has only one wire (a black one) coming out of the body of the distributor, just like stock. The Hall Effect system is completely concealed beneath the stock distributor cap, so you and I are the only ones that know you've changed anything, and I'm not talking . . . for a price.

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Probably the most pronounced improvement you can make to your engine is through the installation of a roller valvetrain, starting with the roller cam. Because of the aggressively quick ramps of the roller camshaft lobes, improvements are made in horsepower and torque over a much broader rpm range than ever possible with a flat-tappet cam. The added bonus: the lifters roll over the lobes of the cam rather than grate against them like the old flat-tappets do. This means lower engine temperature, less drag, and no need to worry about oil additives, lack of zinc, finding the right diesel oil, or the possibility of wiping out a brand-new camshaft in 10 minutes. This is the Comp Cams Retro-Fit hydraulic roller camshaft, made to fit the stock Gen 1 Chevrolet engine lifter bores.




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